Multiple legal experts, pundits and former peers of Brett Kavanaugh believe the embattled Supreme Court nominee lied under oath during his re-hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday while denying various accusations and questions raised during the hours-long grilling session.
Aside from the multiple sexual assault and rape accusations leveled against Kavanaugh, critics–including at least one prominent conservative–have focused on the judge’s answers and alleged evasions regarding his drinking and certain terms inscribed in his senior yearbook from elite feeder school Georgetown Prep.
1. Kavanaugh’s Classmates Say He Lied About Drinking
Questions about Kavanaugh’s alleged habitual blackout drunkenness were repeatedly raised by Democratic Party senators. Most infamously, during Kavanaugh’s questioning by Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Amy Klobuchar (DFL-MN). While dodging many of the senators’ questions, Kavanaugh retorted back with questions about both Klobuchar’s and Whitehouse’s own drinking habits.
At least once, however, Kavanaugh categorically denied that his drinking ever reached such a level. He said:
I drank beer with my friends. Almost everyone did. Sometimes I had too many beers. Sometimes others did. I liked beer. I still like beer. But I did not drink beer to the point of blacking out.
But that’s just not true, according to some of Kavanaugh’s good friends from his days at Yale.
I was appalled. He was clearly lying. And it was incredibly disturbing to see somebody perjuring them self who’s in line to be a Supreme Court justice…That’s what was surprising to me. Is that, I drank too much in college. I think a lot of kids drink too much in college. ‘But if you’re able to get your work done and you move on with your life and you don’t drink as much–but we all drank a fair amount and we made some stupid choices.’ That would have been totally fine. If he had said that, I wouldn’t be here today.
Lynne Brooks, who also says she drank a lot with Kavanaugh during the Yale days concurred with Swisher’s estimation. She said, “I agree. The reason that I decided to speak out was when he gave the Fox News interview and, as I said in the Washington Post, tried to paint himself as a choir boy where all he did was study and play sports and every once in awhile he would have a beer–and that’s simply not consistent with the Brett Kavanaugh I knew in college.”
And, as previously noted by the Department of Defense’s former special counsel and present New York University Law Professor Ryan Goodman, nearly one dozen former classmates of Kavanaugh have described the Supreme Court nominee as a heavy drinker who was frequently “very drunk.”
Brooks and Swisher were then questioned by the MSNBC host about Deborah Ramirez‘s account of Kavanaugh’s alleged exposure and sexual assault against her. While both women noted they were friends of Ramirez, they each said they were not witnesses and could not corroborate her accusations.
O’Donnell, then returned to Kavanaugh’s apparent minimization of his drinking from back in the day. Swisher said, “That was blurring the difference between truth and falsehood. And for somebody who’s a federal judge and in line potentially to be in the highest court in this country, there can be no alternative facts. We need somebody who stands by truth and justice.”
2. Allegedly Misleading Testimony About His Yearbook
Another portion of Kavanaugh’s testimony which has drawn both inquiry and ridicule, was the judge’s apparently fanciful definitions of yearbook phrases. Also elicited during the Whitehouse testimony, Kavanaugh was pressed on the meaning of the terms “boofed” and “Devil’s Triangle.”
The inscription in Kavanaugh’s yearbook reads, “Judge — Have You Boofed Yet?” A similar inscription appears in Mark Judge‘s yearbook and reads, “Bart, have you boofed yet?” The yearbook simply lists “Devil’s Triangle” as one of Kavanaugh’s achievements next to his senior photo.
During his testimony, Kavanaugh claimed that “boofed” was a teenage word for “flatulence” and that Devil’s Triangle referred to “a drinking game…a quarters game.” (A quarters game is typically a game that involves trying to launch and land a quarter into a container of alcohol.)
Both of those definitions apparently don’t square.
In the 1980s and now, “boofing” was widely known as a term for anal sex, according to both the New York Times and Urban Dictionary. Nowadays, the term is also associated with the anal delivery of alcohol or drugs in order to achieve inebriation at a much faster clip, according to Urban Dictionary.
Bill Barbot, whose attendance at Georgetown Prep overlapped with Kavanaugh’s, discussed those disputed yearbook phrases with the Times He said, “Our senior yearbook pages were a place to have a little bit of fun with commemorating inside jokes. However, the spin that Brett was putting on it was a complete overstatement of the innocence with which they were intended.”
William Fishburne managed the Georgetown Prep football during Kavanaugh’s senior year there. He also spoke with the the Times about Kavanaugh’s yearbook excuses. Fishburne said, “The explanation of Devil’s Triangle does not hold water for me.”
Other, at least for now unnamed classmates of Kavanaugh’s are disputing Kavanaugh’s supplied definitions as well. Journalist David Enrich noted, just after the hearing:
Based on extensive interviews by me and @katekelly with Kavanaugh’s former Georgetown Prep classmates, what he just said about the meanings of “boofed” and “Devil’s Triangle” is not true.
— David Enrich (@davidenrich) September 27, 2018
According to Urban Dictionary and, well, pretty much anyone who’s previously heard the term, including the present author, “Devil’s Triangle” refers to a sexual encounter involving two men and one woman. And even some high-profile conservatives don’t appear to be buying Kavanaugh’s definition. The National Review’s Jamie Weinstein noted:
If Kavanaugh lied about what “Devil’s Triangle” meant — even if it was a dumb line of questioning and even if he did it to spare his family further embarrassment by discussing what was probably a juvenile inside high school joke — could that tank his nomination?
— Jamie Weinstein (@Jamie_Weinstein) September 29, 2018
3. Legal Experts Tend to Agree This Looks Like Perjury
Goodman also supplied various additional accounts of Kavanaugh’s alleged binge drinking in a Twitter thread earlier on Saturday to support the idea that the nominee lied about his college drinking habits. Picking up on that thread, CNN’s legal analyst and former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa chided Kavanaugh for his apparent dishonesty about the small details explored above.
She wrote, “Had [Kavanaugh] simply told the Judiciary Committee that he partied in high school/college, sometimes to excess – but still denied the assault – these commentaries would be net neutral. Now they contradict his sworn testimony, thereby undermining his other denials and bolstering Dr. Ford.”
[image via MELINA MARA/AFP/Getty Images]
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